Self care is a biblical principle? Is self care something that Christian women should prioritize? Yes it is! Not only is the task of self care vital for us spiritually but it is vital for us physically and mentally as well. Let’s delve right in and explore what the bible has to tell us about this personal topic: Why Self Care Is A Biblical Principle You’re Ignoring.
Why is it important?
Self care can sometimes be equated with self-indulgence. Let me be clear. I am not endorsing anyone to toss all their responsibilities to the wind and live a life of self-absorbed pampering. While that’s extreme at least one person reading this needed that clarification.
What I am endorsing is making time on a regular basis to make sure that you are the best you can be by feeding yourself spiritually, soulfully, and bodily. We can get in the habit of putting everyone first for so long that we neglect our own good. Too much of a good thing can turn sour quick.
There are godly women out there who literally feel selfish and guilty for taking a few minutes a day for themselves though.
In our own religious fervor we can even fall into the trap of judging other people’s lack of busyness.
In fact, these women are in every church across America and may very well be the ones reading these words at this moment. If so, let me go ahead and give you the two most influential and scriptural reasons I believe the bible tells us to take a little time to rest and take care of ourselves regularly.
Number One … God rested on the seventh day.
Genesis 2:1-3 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
He ordained the sabbath and set it apart as holy. He literally commanded the Jews of old to not do any strenuous work on this day *they were even allowed to take only a certain number of steps! Now, grace in Jesus has delivered us from the letter of the law, but the principle is still sound. Hebrews 4:9 says that the sabbath remains a day of rest for the new covenant crowd … us!
If the God of all creation set aside a whole day to refresh ourselves why do we feel bad about taking a small portion of time daily to do so.
Number Two … Jesus often “withdrew from the crowd” to have some quiet time and pray.
Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
If he needed to rejuvenate himself then we certainly do too!
Jesus knew how important it was to have some private time to pray to the Father. While we are COMMANDED to pray without ceasing that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t separate ourselves for a little peace and quiet to do so. Really, it enforces it. When the hustle and bustle becomes too much taking some time for yourself is often required to re-focus on what is important. If we are imitating Jesus then how about we actually start acting like him and follow suit!
What does it look like in scripture?
Aside from the two examples above there are a number of scriptural examples of self care we could delve into. But lets pick just a few favorites for brevity’s sake.
Luke 10:41-42 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
In this familiar passage I want to pull out a key aspect that is often overlooked… it may very well have taken great courage and discipline for Mary to sit down at Jesus’s feet. Mary and Martha were sisters, raised to be caring hostesses of their guests, and diligent homemakers as all good women of the time were expected to be. Mary KNEW there were things that needed to be done for their guests and SAW her sister busy trying to get them all done. She was TRAINED to do them as well.
But she recognized that something better was sitting in the other room just waiting to be had. So despite what was no doubt an internal struggle, she chose the better option and sat at the Lords feet to have her spirit and soul fed while her body rested. She practiced a little self care and Jesus said it would not be taken from her.
Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Here we can draw two important points.
One: we are to love God with ALL our heart, soul, mind, and other translations add strength. If these pieces of us are so ragged and worn out from self-inflicted business how can we possible give them ALL to our Lord. Jesus is grace and mercy and will take us just as we are, ragged and all, but he WANTS us to be whole and healthy. Not ragged and tired.
Two: What would your neighbor look like if you LITERALLY loved them like yourself. Would they be healthy, rested, spiritually and soulfully fed in the Lord? OR would they be weary from trying to carry far more than they should, exhausted from the inability to tell people “NO”, and anxious from not spending enough time in prayer and quiet? Just a thought.
Ephesians 5:29-30 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.
Christ feeds and cares for his body the Church. He loves his body and so he takes food care of it. It is a simple concept that we often neglect in our own literal selves. If we are to imitate Christ in every way then shouldn’t it apply here as well? Shouldn’t we be prioritizing the things Jesus does?
What does it look like for me?
There is no set formula for self care in the bible. We can, however, draw a few examples from the scriptures above. In them we see that a set time is regularly given for rest, we separate ourselves from others for time alone, we sit (rest physically) and feed our spirit and soul, we should love and take care of ALL the pieces of ourself, and we should love and take care of our body.
Taking even a small chunk of time our of our schedules can be hard at times but doing so it vital. You’re of far more use to others if you take good care of yourself. We may very well have to set new boundaries. It’s OK to say “NO” to people! They will not die and the church will not fall apart if you don’t attend and cook for the next function, or organize the next weeknight event, or help out on that weekend event.
By graciously stepping aside for some tasks we actually open the door for others to step up and be blessed by those tasks. We are not called to do everything, but to work together as the body. That means you may have to release control and let others help in areas you usually handle yourself. It is hard at first, but worth it in the end.
But if you really just don’t know where to start or need some fresh inspiration here are a few places to begin.
- Unplug and sit down somewhere comfy with a nice cup of tea.
- Take a hot bath or shower and stay in there relaxing longer than usual *bonus points if you add in some essential oils or Epsom salts
- Have a date with Jesus and take your Bible/journal somewhere new to study and meditate: coffee shop, park, bookstore, etc
- Get a real and actual massage *especially good if you’ve been loving your body with a good workout
- Make time to actually get in your workout regularly *also a great time to jam and worship to some upbeat Christian music
- Trade in your take out lunches for something healthier * your body will thank you
- Make quiet time with your Bible a priority * picking a designated time and place may help
- Get enough sleep EVERY NIGHT * you really don’t NEED that half hour of Facebook and Pinterest before bed
- Spend some time outdoors *beach, pool, park, hiking, whatever you prefer!
- Listen to some of your favorite music without any distractions
Taking the time to spend rejuvenating and preparing yourself makes you able to FULLY immerse in the things God has set for you to do. Our lives are all unique gifts from God and if we want to be at our best spiritually, physically, and mentally we must prioritize a little regular self care. So don’t feel guilty about taking a little hot tea and comfy chair time every once in a while. It is good for you which in turn is good for others.
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